Less than 40% of Americans Take Summer Vacations
Hoisted from Comments: The Jim Hamilton Model

Ummm... No

Megan McArdle writes:

Megan McArdle: I know I saw that recession around here somewhere . . . The economy grew at 1.9% last quarter.  Two thoughts.  First, the American economy is simply amazingly resilient--1.9% is cause for exultant celebration in a lot of European finance ministries.  And second, Barack Obama's campaign team is probably doing some serious rethinking this morning...

Megan, this morning's number was bad news about the state of the economy between April and June--we had been betting that the number would be about 2.5% because of dollar decline-driven net export growth and the stimulus package. It is very nice that we continue to escape a deep recession like 1982--so far. But the odds that we are in or will soon be in an episode that the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee will call a recession are higher today than they were yesterday.

The recent quarter-to-quarter growth numbers are:

2007q1 0.1
2007q2 4.8
2007q3 4.8
2007q4 -0.2
2008q1 0.9
2008q2 1.9
2008q3 1.5*

with the Macroeconomic Associates tracking estimate of the third quarter added on to the end. It looks like we will go into the election with GDP growth averaging 1.0% per year over the past four quarters--and with GDP per capita flat over the year before the election.

That's not good for an incumbent party.

Whether the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee will ultimately count this episode as a recession or not is still way up in the air--and, I think, depends very much on where unemployment goes next: